I have spent nearly all of February traveling around America talking about my biography of Osama bin Laden and what I see as the wisdom of a non-interventionist foreign policy for America. I will always regard this experience as a privilege. For this excursion I wish to thank Oxford University Press and all of those who listened to and then discussed these issues with me in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Portland, Seattle, and Los Angeles.
Osama bin Laden thought the mujahideen had seen the last of Marxist-like thinkers in 1980s Afghanistan where the “inevitability” of communism’s world mastery proved illusory. To his surprise and joy, however, this sort of mental malady reappeared with a vengeance this month as the woefully uneducated West cheered democracy’s “inevitable” advance in Egypt.
The piece below the broken line appeared today on the National Interest’s foreign affairs blog. It is a reflection on the costs Americans pay for their elite’s relentless interventionism, as well as for the failure of the U.S. educational system. I suggest at the end of the piece that we all could stand to closely reread George Washington’s Farewell Address; indeed, I suspect that Obama, Clinton, McCain, Cantor, Biden, and most of the Congress and media would benefit from an initial reading.
In a series of media appearances this week on the issue of Egypt it was again driven home to me that non-interventionism and nationalism are two positions that are outside of what Tocqueville called the circle of acceptable free speech in America. Indeed, to argue that Washington’s intervention on the side of Arab tyrannies for 30-plus years has hurt the United States makes one an America-basher; to argue that Israel is a central and increasingly lethal problem for the United States in its relations with the Arab world makes one an anti-Semite; and to argue that Washington should be banned from reaching into its citizens’ pockets, stealing their income, and giving it to Israel, Egypt, or any other foreign nation when unemployment is at 9-percent, 43 million Americans are on food stamps, the country’s infrastructure is crumbling, and 15-percent of American kids go to bed hungry makes one an anachronistic isolationist — and an anti-Semite.
President Obama’s State of the Union Speech cited a light at the Afghan tunnel’s end, and General Petraeus said a few hours earlier that conditions are improving in Afghanistan. For readers of Google News on Afghanistan and Pakistan these statements hit a discordant note; journalists are describing steady deterioration in both countries. While it is perhaps disrespectful to question the veracity of Messangers Obama and Petraeus, a look some facts can help assess their claims.